Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.
Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:22 pm
On Sat. Dec. 16 my son and I skied the morning at Kirkwood where they had winch-cat groomed some of Cornice, but wind kept it, chair 10 and Backside closed. Besides beginner lifts, they ran chair 7 which is high-speed, but too flat, 5 which stops too much and 11 which was running slow and had N wind stripping runs. We tried to get 4 runs on 11, but cold wind (top of Alpine and Squaw had 100+ mph gusts), made us take a break after two. We went out some to get some more, but 11 had closed which made line very long on 5. We took it about 4 more times, then did a couple of laps on 7. We quit early with almost 11K to head to reggae event at Heavenly's CA base.
We ended up re-routing to Stagecoach base at Heavenly as my son's friend was skiing from there. We arrived at 2 and by waiting about a minute we got 2nd parking place from lift. Thermometer at top of lift said 12 and we saw others that were closer to 10. Wind was not as strong as at Kirkwood and they were running Dipper, Comet and Olympic (1st day this year for Olympic). We rode 7 lifts at Heavenly and took a short break at East Peak Lodge before quitting at 4. Wind was very strong in SLT, eventually leading to a widespread power outage that forced us to go to casinos where they were in slightly limited operation on generators. Skied 8.3K at Heavenly.
We went to Heavenly Sun 12/17. Winds were lighter than Sat, but still blowing. I would have rather headed for Kirkwood, but was not sure I could get two 20-somethings who stayed out late going early enough. They rallied and we made it to Heavenly's Stagecoach base about 9:30, parking nearly at the end of the lower lot. My son and I skied all five chairs (except beginner one) open twice. Groomers were OK with recently opened Olympic probably the best. The non-groomed runs open (Upper Big Dipper, Aries and Little Dipper) were nearly wall-to-wall firm bumps. Picture is entrance to usually groomed Little Dipper run. We skied it on Sat. in low visibility and I had a little new snow in Dipper Bowl where ropeline ended. We decided to move to Kirkwood. But we ran into more friends of his at Stagecoach lift so we took one more ride on Stagecoach with them before quitting about 11:45 with almost 12K.
We picked up our stuff from the cabin and got to Kirkwood about 1. We took four laps on Cornice, skiing both Zachary's and Sentinel twice each. Both had been groomed, but Zachary's was mostly scraped off while Sentinel skied better as it was getting some windsift. We moved to the Reut where we took a couple of laps on Wagon Trail, the only run that was not firmed by the wind or showing a lot of obstacles (like Short Spoke under chair).
The Wall started loading about 2:30 after being closed Sat. and until then on Sun. My son missed it and went to Cornice. I loaded it after assuring liftie I'd done it before and that I realized conditions would be more challenging than Cornice. I mostly regretted it as chair seemed to be running a little slow and had a couple of stoppages as I neared the top. The snow had been hammered by the wind and had some of the worst sastrugi I've ever seen. The sastrugi at top was much worse than this picture. You could have hidden a body in the voids under some of it. Almost 11K.